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National Guardsman withdraws plea to shooting pregnant wife while ‘playing’ with gun

Cameron H. Zuzula (middle) appears in Saginaw County Circuit Court on Oct. 2, 2023, beside attorney Russell J. Perry Jr. (Cole Waterman/

After some admonishing words from a judge on the importance of firearm safety, a former serviceman withdrew his plea to having shot his pregnant wife while playing with a gun in their Thomas Township home.

Cameron H. Zuzula, 31, in August pleaded guilty as charged to the lone count he faced, that of careless discharge of a firearm causing injury or death. The charge is a high court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years’ incarceration and a $2,000 fine.

Saginaw County Circuit Judge Manvel Trice III initially indicated he would sentence Zuzula to a term of probation with no incarceration. After receiving a presentence investigation report that indicated Zuzula’s wife said her husband was “playing with a gun when it went off and shot her,” Trice called a hearing that convened Monday, Nov. 13.

Thomas Township Police Officer Brennan Ward testified that he responded to the Zuzulas’ home in the 100 block of East Stark Road the evening of May 24, 2022. Zuzula’s mother had called 911 after her son called her to say he had accidentally shot his wife, Ward said.

Upon arrival, Ward found Zuzula rendering aid to his wife and applying a blood-clotting substance to her abdominal wound. Zuzula repeatedly told Ward he had been playing with a new handgun in his kitchen and was field stripping it when he pulled its trigger. Zuzula said he had thought the gun was unloaded, Ward testified.

The bullet took a finger off Zuzula’s left hand before striking his wife in her upper abdomen. The fetus survived the shooting.

Zuzula’s wife, Lindsay Zuzula, then took the stand, called by defense attorney Russell J. Perry. Lindsay Zuzula said she and her husband were both in the U.S. Army National Guard when the shooting occurred. She described both herself and her husband as experts in firearms, adding her husband had been a combat engineer.

“He’s the most amazing husband that I could have ever have been privileged to marry,” Lindsay Zuzula said. “He’s also the most amazing father. I don’t know anyone better.”

Lindsay Zuzula said she bought her husband a Glock 48 9mm on May 23, as a present for his 30th birthday the following day. “Playing with a gun” means familiarizing yourself with it, she testified. She maintained she has never felt endangered by her husband and is confident such an occurrence would not happen again.

At this, Judge Trice asked Lindsay Zuzula if she was aware her husband had previously accidentally shot himself. She replied she was aware of this.

The prior incident occurred Jan. 15, 2016, in Crawford County’s Grayling Township and involved Cameron Zuzula shooting himself in his hand. Cameron Zuzula was charged with careless or reckless discharge of a firearm, but in April 2016 received a delayed sentence and the charge was subsequently dismissed.

“Apparently, he didn’t learn his lesson from that period of probation and it happened again,” Trice said. “This court is concerned probation is not enough to drive home the message of how to deal safely with firearms. This lady and her child could have lost their lives.”

Perry maintained a probation sentence would be appropriate, adding both Zuzulas have lost their military careers due to the incident.

“If this were the first time this had happened, I would say, ‘OK, we could work with him,’” Trice countered. “But this is the second time that it has happened, and two people were hurt. Given the fact he was in the military, he should know safety is most important when handling a firearm. If anyone should understand that, it’s the police (and) it’s the military.”

Zuzula then withdrew his plea, with Trice telling him his case would be scheduled for trial.


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